CHAPTER VIII - THE SUPPRESSION AND AFTER
The surrender of the priory of St. Bartholomew actually took place
on the 25th October, 1539, the deed of surrender being sealed in the
chapter-house of the priory on that day. It is a small parchment
measuring 16¼ in. by 8¼ in. (pl. X, p. 254). It is in excellent condition;
it is kept in a small bag and is numbered 136 among the Deeds of
Surrender in the Court of Augmentations at the Public Record Office in
Chancery Lane. It bears no signatures of the members of the convent
(which is unusual), but only that of William Petre, the king's commissioner, who took the surrender; attached, however, is a good
impression in brown wax of the monastic seal, and this must have
been the last time the matrix was used before it was destroyed.
The deed may be shortly translated thus: (fn. 1)
'To all the faithfull in Christ to whom this present charter shall
come, Robert by divine permission abbot of the monastery of
Waltham in the county of Essex, and prior in commendam of
the monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew in Smithfield and the
convent of the same place, sends greeting. Know ye that we the
aforesaid abbot and convent for sure reasons and considerations at
present particularly moving us, by our unanimous agreement and
consent, and of our spontaneous will, have given granted and by
this our present charter confirmed to our most excellent prince
and lord, Lord Henry VIII, by God's grace King of England and
France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland, and supreme head
on earth of the English Church, all our aforesaid monastery and
priory of St. Bartholomew and the whole site of our late priory
and all our demesnes, manors, churches, chapels, rectories, and
vicarages and chantries . . . as well spiritual as temporal, as well
in the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, Essex and in the City of
London as anywhere else in the kingdom which belong to the
monastery . . . and also all and every kind of our church ornaments,
jewels and goods which we have in right of the said monastery;
to have hold and enjoy all the aforesaid demesnes and manors to
our lord the king, his heirs and successors for ever. And we the
said abbot and convent and our successors will warrant against
all peoples for the lord the king and his successors all the monastery
and the demesnes and manors (etc.) with their appurtenances.
In testimony of which we have set our common sea to this our
'Dated at our chapter-house the 25th day of October in the
31st year of the reign of our said lord the present king Henry the
'Acknowledged before me William Petre (fn. 2) one of the clerks of
the Chancellery of the lord the king the day and place written
above by me William Petre.'
The day after the surrender, viz. on the 26th October, 1539, a list
was made of the canons in the house. Against each name was then
inserted, by Sir Robert Southwell, (fn. 3) the pension allotted. (fn. 4) All pensions
were made payable at Michaelmas and Lady Day, and in addition
a money gift was made to make the pension date from the day of the
surrender. The pension was to cease upon the recipient being advanced
by the king to any ecclesiastical office. (fn. 5) The grant of the pension was
made to each canon by deed identically worded in each case, except
for the amount of the pension and the name and office of the pensioner.
Each deed was dated the 20th November, 31 Henry VIII (1539), and
may be translated thus from the Latin:
'The king to all to whom these presents shall come greeting.
Since the late monastery of St. Bartholomew in Smythefeld by
London in our county of Middlesex is now being dissolved whereof
a certain Robert Glasier at the time of that dissolution and sometime previously was sub-prior there. We wishing that a reasonable
yearly pension or promotion worthy of the same Robert should be
provided for the better supporting his food dress and sustenance.
Know ye therefore that we, in consideration of the premises, of
our special favour, and of our own sure knowledge and proper
motion, by the advice and consent of the chancery and council
of the Court of Augmentations of the revenues of our crown, have
given and granted and by these presents do give and grant to the
said Robert a certain annuity or yearly pension of fifteen pounds
sterling; to have, enjoy and yearly receive the said fifteen pounds
to the said Robert and his assigns from the feast of St. Michael
the Archangel last past to the end and for the term of the life of
the said Robert or until the said Robert shall have been promoted
by us to one or more ecclesiastical benefices or other promotion
worth the clear annual value of fifteen pounds or over; to be
paid yearly by equal portions at the feasts of the Annunciation of
the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Michael the Archangel, as well
by the hands of the treasurer of the Revenues and Augmentations
of our crown for the time being from our funds in his hands which
happen to remain from the said revenues, as by means of the
receipts, profits and revenues for the time being of the said late
monastery out of the same profits and revenues; for the reason
that express mention, etc. In testimony whereof, etc.
'Witness, Richard Rich, Knight, at Westminster, the 20th
November in the 31st year of our reign. By the said chancery and
council by virtue of the said warrant.'
The following is the list of the 13 canons and the pensions allotted
to them by separate deeds, as above, preserved in the Augmentation
Office: (fn. 6)
|Robert Glasier, sub-prior
|William Barlowe, canon
|John Smyth (senior), canon
|Henry George "
|John Smyth (junior) "
|Christopher Reynolds "
|Peter Wade "
|Robert Stokys "
|Robert Kenham "
|Richard Duffe "
|John Sutton "
|George Chapman "
|Mathew Dyll (fn. 7) "
(Signed by) Robert Southwell,
The pension for the prior was arranged later. In the list of pensions
paid in the year 1542 (fn. 8) Robert Kenham does not appear, so he had
either had promotion or died. In 1546 'nil' is written against Peter
Wade's, Robert Stokys' and George Chapman's (fn. 9) names, but not so
against Chapman's in the following year. (fn. 10) In the year 1556, under
Philip and Mary, there were only five left on the list, though there
was an additional annuitant, Richard Ward, of 20s. a year (fn. 11)
The furniture of the church and of the monastic buildings after
suppression was usually sold by public auction, (fn. 12) and the inventories
taken for the purpose of the sales are preserved among the augmentation papers at the Record Office, but there is no such inventory
concerning St. Bartholomew's. The church furniture may have been
sold to Rich or others by private tender; but anyhow it was probably
dealt with at once.
As regards other saleable materials, instructions concerning them
were given; as by Rich to John Scudamore, one of the auditors and
receiver of suppressed lands, (fn. 13) 'to make sale of bells and superfluous
houses and have the lead melted into plokes and sows, weighed and
marked with the king's marks'.
The fate of the bells we know on the authority of Stow, (fn. 14) who
'The church having in the bell tower six bells in a tune, those
bells were sold to the parish of St. Sepulchre'
(where they were unfortunately run out at the Fire of London). There
were, however, five bells left for the parish, which five are still rung
weekly in the present tower of the church. They are fully described
further on. (fn. 15) They bear the mark of Thomas Bullesden, who flourished
in 1506–1510, so they may have been cast for parochial bells at the
instance of Prior Bolton, but if, as some think, they were the top
bells of a ring of twelve it may be that the parishioners, as at Croxden,
claimed them at the suppression on the plea that they had been rung
for the parochial as well as for the monastic services. (fn. 16) Or it may be
that Rich, knowing that he was to buy the church and parish, withheld them from sale for the use of his parish church. In the case of
Waltham Abbey there is a record that in 1540 the parishioners
petitioned that five of the eight bells should be obtained for them
from the king, as the parish church had had only one bell, which was
in the abbey tower since the time of King Henry II. (fn. 17)
The plate and jewels, ready money, copes and vestments from the
churches were taken in charge by Sir John Williams, the master and
treasurer of the jewels and plate to the king, who lived in the Close.
His declaration of what he received between the 26th April, 1537,
and the 4th December, 1545, and how the same was disposed of, has
been printed for the Abbotsford Club. (fn. 18) Some of the plate was sold
to the masters of the mint in the Tower, some was reserved for the
king's use, and part of the proceeds was expended in the expenses
of Anne of Cleves with her train at Calais, and part in other ways.
The plate from St. Bartholomew's was delivered to Sir John Williams
by Thomas Spilman Esq. sixteen days after the suppression (2nd
November 1539). It consisted of—
|Gilte plate Diiijxxx oz. iii q.a rt.
||= 590 oz. 3 carats.
|Parcel gilte plate ccclxx oz.
|| = 370 oz.
|White plate cccxi oz.
||= 311 oz.
||1,271 oz. 3 carats.
To compare this with some of the other London monasteries:
Westminster yielded 8,808 oz.; the Grey Friars 2,890 oz.; St.
John's, Clerkenwell, 2,445 oz.; the Blackfriars 1,132 oz.; the White
Friars 458 oz.; the Charterhouse 447 oz.
It would seem that Cromwell had taken the precaution of having
a list of the plate made five years before, since, among his Remembrances, in a declaration of escripts and writings which came into
his custody in March 1534, occurs: 'VII. Plate appertaining to the
priory of St. Bartholomew'.
The actual building material of the nave and parish chapel, the
king says in his grant to Rich, 'has been utterly taken away thence
and the lead, stones and timber are being turned to our own use and
The possessions of the monastery, outside the monastic precincts,
were valued in the year 1535, as already seen, for the purpose of
carrying into effect the provisions of the Act concerning the payment
of firstfruits and tenths of the Church to the king. It is recorded in
(fn. 19) that the gross rental of St. Bartholomew's was
|In the city and immediate suburbs (including St. Sepulchre's £42)
|The Valor total is incorrectly cast and is more by
|From this there were deductions for various
rent charges and ground rents; fees for
stewards; for John Burgoyne the auditor,
40s.; for John Dean, Rector of Little Stanmore (who was in 1544 made the first rector
of St. Bartholomew's), £6 13s. 4d., &c.
|Leaving clear (fn. 20)
The survey specially mentions that no profits were reckoned in
connexion with the 'courtyards, gardens and orchards with various
houses built within the precincts of the said monastery', and these
were valued to Rich in the 'particulars for grants', as we shall see,
at £117 7s. 11d. net per annum. The valuation of the possessions,
as rendered to the Augmentation Office in 1540–1 (that is, after the
suppression), by the king's ministers and receivers, known as the
'computi ministrorum' (fn. 21) differs from that made in 1535 for the Valor
Ecclesiasticus; but not to any great extent, since the total income
from the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Herts, and
Bucks only differs by £3 0s. 8d. (The valuation of the London
possessions is not given in the computi.)
Fuller was allowed to retain possession of his abbey longer than
that of his priory, in fact to a later date than any abbot in the kingdom,
for he was not called upon to surrender Waltham until the 23rd
March, 1540. (fn. 22) The surrender is sealed and also signed by the abbot
and 17 of the canons. It is docketed by Sir William Petre as recognized before him on the same day. The gross income of the abbey
was £1,079 12s. 1d.; the clear revenue, as shown in the Valor Ecclesiasticus, was £900 4s. 3d. Pensions were assigned the next day: £20
a year to the prior; £10 to the sub-prior; £9 each to two of the
canons; £8 to another; £6 13s. 4d. to eight others, and to four more
£5 each. (fn. 23) The sub-prior, Edmund Saunders, was at first entered for
£6 13s. 4d. only, but the amount was altered by Cromwell to £10, who
signed the alteration as 'Thomas Essex' (this was the same year
as his execution). The pension list was certified by Thomas Mildmay
and signed by Sir Richard Rich. Waltham was one of those houses
which the Bishop of Winchester proposed to the king should form
one of the new bishoprics, (fn. 24) but the scheme was only partly carried
out, and Waltham was suppressed.
Robert Fuller, both as Prior of St. Bartholomew's and as Abbot of
Waltham Holy Cross, was treated with exceptional liberality; from
which fact, and from what we have already seen, we assume that he
rendered exceptional services to the king. For, as late prior commendatory of St. Bartholomew's, he was granted for life practically the
whole of the possessions of the monastery. The grant was dated at
St. Bartholomew's the 6th May, 1540, and was of the manors, &c., of
Great Stanmore, Canons, Portepole and Wyndbores, (fn. 25) Midd.; Langley
hall, Shortegrovehall, and Bradfeld, Essex; Tayng, Canon Holmes, and
Wellhall, Herts; Mentmore, Bucks; and all buildings in London and
elsewhere which belonged to the priory: except the chief messuage
of the priory then in the tenure of Sir Richard Rich. (fn. 26) Also the annual
fair called 'Barthylmewes Feyre', held within the precincts of the
priory for three days from the vigil of St. Bartholomew; also the
rectories of St. Sepulchre in the suburbs of London; Theydon Bois,
Essex; Gorleston, Suffolk; Leystoft, Norfolk; and Mentmore, Bucks,
with the advowsons; also pensions out of Wenhaston church,
Suffolk, and Danbury church, Essex; tithes of Chardyngton, Midd.:
and oblations in St. Mary's chapel of Yarmouth, Norfolk. (fn. 27)
As abbot of Waltham Holy Cross, Fuller was, immediately on his
surrender of the abbey, granted a pension of £200 a year from the
lands and possessions of the abbey; (fn. 28) and on the 6th May he was
granted for life the manors of Woodford, Theydon Bois, Netysswell,
Paffyld, Stanford-le-Hope, Wormyngford and Stanway, Essex; Cullynges, Herts; Alrychesey, Beds; and rectories and advowsons
of Wormyngford and Alrychesey churches. This grant was dated
at Waltham Holy Cross (fn. 29) and was probably to provide the £200
Thus with the surrender of his monasteries did the prior and abbot
also surrender his vows of poverty! He enjoyed his possessions a
few months only, for, on the 12th August following, he made his will, (fn. 30)
and, as it was proved on the 4th October, he must have died either
in August or September 1540.
In his will he describes the king as the supreme head on earth of the
Church of this realm, and himself as Robert Fuller, priest, late Abbot
of Waltham and Prior Commendatory of St. Bartholomew's in West
Smithfield, London, suppressed. He willed to be buried in Corpus
Christi Chapel in St. Sepulchre's Church. He bequeathed to the
same church for repairs, and for the maintenance of the services,
£13 6s. 8d.; to the brotherhood of Corpus Christi there, £3 6s. 8d.;
and to the brotherhood of Our Lady and St. Stephen there, £3 6s. 8d.
for the maintenance of the services and for the ornaments of the
altars of the fraternities. He directed that two priests that he had
provided should sing masses for his soul and for the souls of Robert,
John, and Katharine (who these were is not stated), and for the
souls of the founder and benefactors of the suppressed priory of
St. Bartholomew's in West Smithfield; that this should continue for
seven years and that the priests should be paid £8 each yearly; that
the vestments and chalice that he had given to these two priests
were to remain for the use of the church at the end of the seven years.
He also made provision for the priests, clerks and sextons, and poor
householders of the parish, for bread for the poor, and for wine and
wax for the aforesaid two priests for the seven years. He bequeathed
£10 for the repairs of the parish church of St. Lawrence, (fn. 31) Waltham
Holy Cross; £5 to 'the fraternity' of St. Michael, otherwise called
'charnell of Waltham'; and £5 to 'the fraternity of Our Lady', in
the same church at Waltham. He also made provision for a priest
to pray there for his soul, and for those of Robert, John, and Katharine and for the founders of the late abbey there suppressed, the
priest's salary to be £8 a year for seven years. He made similar provision regarding vestments and a chalice, and for the priests, clerks,
sextons, poor householders, and bread for the poor, as for those of
St. Bartholomew's. He bequeathed to his 'most dere and dred
sovereign Lord King Henry VIII '£40, beseeching him to be a good
and gracious lord to his executors. He bequeathed £3 6s. 8d. yearly
for seven years for the maintenance of the highways of Waltham
town. He directed his executors 'to provide yearly for seven years
for four scour ells of canvas clothe at five pence the ell, to make at
a penny each forty shirts and smocks for the poor'. He bequeathed
to Thomas Hawkins, his chaplain and executor, £6 13s. 4d. yearly
for seven years, to pray for his soul, and to take a collect for him
daily; to John Higham, his old servant and executor, 26s. 8d. yearly
for seven years; to Humphrey Barrett, his servant, 26s. 8d.; and
to Richard Higham of Royden, gentleman and overseer of his will,
40s. for a like term. To Sir Robert Glasier, priest, and Sir Humphrey
Murten, priest, his chaplain, each £8 to pray for his soul. To poor
people in 'penny dole', for funeral expenses, for priests, clerks, and
sexton, and for wax £30. To each of his servants two weeks' wages
and 10s. for livery cloth and 10s. for diet for one month as a reward
for their labours. And to his two executors, and to his overseer,
12 yards of black cloth at 13s. 4d. a yard, and to Richard Higham of
Roydon the lease of his house within the Close of St. Bartholomew
for six months, and then to continue to have it for two years subject
to finding an honest priest of good conversation to sing his mass
daily for him. He gave to Sir Richard Rich, Knight, 'for such goodness as he had found in him', £20. To Robert Thydley, gentleman,
'for such pains as he had taken for him in matters of law and otherwise, 40s.'; and to each of his executors and his overseer, £20; and
in addition 40s. yearly for being at his obit kept at St. Sepulchre's
Church and at Waltham; and for seeing that the churchwardens paid
his priests their wage. The rest of his goods, money, plate, and
movables, &c., he left to his executors to bestow on poor householders and for mending the highways of Waltham.
His executors were as named above, with the addition of Edward
Stacye of Waltham, gentleman. The witnesses were Sir Thomas
Warren, priest and late prior of Waltham; James Sutton, gentleman;
and Humphrey Barrett, (fn. 32) with others.
The will was proved, as already said, on the 4th October, 1540.
It is written at great length, evidently by his friend Robert Thydley,
his lawyer, and shows the testator as a sober, religiously minded man
and thoughtful to the last for his dependants.